National Plans To Address Housing

HousingPrime Minister Weekly Column 

A number of factors over many years have boosted housing demand and pushed up prices. There is no doubt housing is a challenge, and it’s one National is tackling head on with a Comprehensive Housing Plan. We’re taking steps that will result in more houses being built, and more affordable homes in the market.

Recent reports show we are making progress. In the 12 months to August more than 29,600 homes were consented across New Zealand, with a value of over $10 billion. We will not allow unresponsive planning and slow infrastructure development to lock New Zealanders out of the housing market. A $1 billion fund has been established to bring forward….. the infrastructure needed to support new housing. Councils are now able to put forward proposals for the fund such as roads and water supply.

The Housing Infrastructure fund complements other initiatives in National’s Comprehensive Housing Plan that will get more houses built faster. We’ve created more than 200 special housing areas across New Zealand to speed up the development of land for an estimated 70,000 new homes. We’ve extended the legislation that makes this possible for another three years. We’re reforming the Resource Management Act to make it easier for councils and developers to get houses consented and built. We’ve also passed legislation to restrict Council development charges to reduce the cost of building, and we’re considering setting up Independent Urban Development Authorities to speed up community development in high-demand areas. On the demand side, tax rules have been tightened to ensure people buying and selling property for profit pay their fair share of tax.

Many New Zealanders are concerned about housing – from enough quality rentals, to more affordable homes for first-home buyers and more housing for those who need a hand-up. Government grants of up to $20,000 per couple are available for first home buyers. For the most vulnerable New Zealanders who need our help, we announced our social housing reform programme at the start of last year. Affordable housing is a challenge in other successful economies and cities around the world and while there are no quick fixes, we are making progress. Our Comprehensive Housing Plan is delivering results. We’re on track to build 85,000 new houses in this term of Parliament – nearly twice the number of existing houses in all of Dunedin. National’s focus will continue to be on addressing this housing challenge and helping New Zealanders get ahead.